In non-Muslim countries where courts follow civil law, arbitration is the Islamic alternative to settle disputes. It is the proper channel in such cases and arbitration committee members should be of integrity

Arbitration in Disputes


Similar Questions


  • Judging disputes within the Muslim minority;
  • Settling disputes through arbitration.


The Issue


Muslims living outside the Muslim world may try to settle their disputes through arbitration and in accordance with Islamic law. In so doing they avoid putting their disputes to courts implementing man-made laws.




Muslims living in non-Muslim countries should seek to sort out their disagreements and disputes according to Islamic law wherever possible. This can be done by referring such disputes to arbitration in all areas where this is not against the law of the land, particularly in what relates to family matters and financial dealings. Muslims should organize settlement of disputes and disagreements by establishing reconciliation and arbitration committees with members who combine Islamic scholarship with legal knowledge and practical experience. Moreover, they should be people of integrity with unblemished characters. Arbitration can become the proper channel if it is stipulated in the contract, or if an arbitration framework is agreed when the dispute arises. The decision of the arbitration committee should be binding on all parties and they must implement it. This is the view of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, the International Fiqh Academy and the Islamic Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League.[1]


The decision of the Islamic Fiqh Council stated:


  • Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries are urged to refer to reliable Islamic institutions and centres to define procedures for marriage, divorce and other forms of marriage dissolution and to conform to local laws that apply to contracts, so that all parties receive their full rights.
  • The Council stresses that general interest requires that marriage contracts should include a condition that disputes will be referred to arbitration according to the provisions of Islamic law.
  • If a judgement ending a marriage is passed by a civil court in such a country, the couple should refer to a reliable Islamic centre so that they can take the necessary measures according to Islam.
  • If the civil procedures for ending a marriage allow that the case may be referred to an Islamic centre or a Muslim lawyer or arbiter to settle the dispute, the couple should accept such referral and put it into action.


The Council urged Islamic institutions and centres representing the Muslim community to:


First, to establish committees of reconciliation and arbitration in family matters. Such committees should be formed of members who combine Islamic scholarship with legal knowledge and practical expertise. They should equip such members with whatever will help them to undertake their tasks on a proper basis that is acceptable from the Islamic and legal points of view.


Secondly, to endeavour to receive their religious privileges in accordance with what the law in their countries of residence provides with regards to acceptance bynational courts of the decisions of committees of arbitration, so-called religious mediators, etc. They should also endeavour to obtain a legal authority over their own family affairs, so as to ensure compatibility between enforcing the provisions of Islamic law and keeping within the laws of their countries of residence.


Thirdly, Islamic centres should coordinate their efforts and disseminate knowledge of family and personal matters and the provisions of Islamic law applicable to them within the Muslim community.





Islamic law endorses arbitration to settle disputes, enforce rights and remove injustice.


Arbitration is the Islamic alternative to putting disputes to civil courts in non-Muslim countries. Therefore, it must be upheld and its implementation enforced.




  • Decisions by the European Council for Fatwa and Research.
  • Decisions by the International Fiqh Academy.
  • Decisions by the Islamic Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League.
  • Abdullah Bin Bayyah, Sina'at al-Fatwa wa Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat.
  • Khalid Abd al-Qadir, Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah.
  • Salah Abd al-Razzaq, al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah fi al-Gharb.

Hamzah al-Faar, ‘Hukm Tawalli al-Marakiz wal-Jam'iyyat al-Islamiyyah 'Uqud Tazwij al-Muslimin wa Faskh Ankihatihim’.


  1. Decision 1-9 of the European Council for Fatwa and Research; Decision 91-8-9 of the International Fiqh Academy; and Decision 3-19 of the Islamic Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League.